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Kamakura Snow Festival, Yokote

  Feb 17th, 2010

I visted Yokote, Akita-Ken, for the recent Kamakura Snow Festival. The Kamakura tradition dates back over 400 years when small snow houses were made for the Gods and filled with food and Sake. The tradition carries on today with people from all over Japan and other countries coming to see the kamakura made by local villagers and children.

A small kamakura made on the side of the road. The history of the kamakura goes back over 400 years. Originally the snow houses (kamakura) were made as resting places for the Gods.

A small kamakura made on the side of the road. The history of the kamakura goes back over 400 years. Originally the snow houses (kamakura) were made as resting places for the Gods.

A few more mini snow huts set up on the side of the road. Lighting these all up at night with candles made a nice site, and at least the snow would help avoid any accidents with fire.

A few more mini snow huts set up on the side of the road. Lighting these all up at night with candles made a nice site, and at least the snow would help avoid any accidents with fire.

As well as kamakura there were also other lights along the street creating a warm atmosphere.

As well as kamakura there were also other lights along the street creating a warm atmosphere.

One of the side streets on the way to the main Kamakura event site. You can see that the snow has not been so heavy this year and the roads are not too hard to drive.

One of the side streets on the way to the main Kamakura event site. You can see that the snow has not been so heavy this year and the roads are not too hard to drive.

A nice warm glow coming from inside this local restaurant.

A nice warm glow coming from inside this local restaurant.

You can still see the bucket shape of this small snow hut.

You can still see the bucket shape of this small snow hut.

Around the City there were many places to see mini light displays as well.

Around the City there were many places to see mini light displays as well.

A decorated elephant lit up as part of the occasion.

A decorated elephant lit up as part of the occasion.

A small tree in the middle of the art exhibition.

A small tree in the middle of the art exhibition.

another good looking place for a meal and a drink. Yakitori in the foreground, tonkatsu behind.

another good looking place for a meal and a drink. Yakitori in the foreground, tonkatsu behind.

Cooking up some food inside the kamakura.

Cooking up some food inside the kamakura.

A menacing statute built in snow at the main kamakura event site. The fire in the front was a welcome site as my fingers had started to freeze over.

A menacing statute built in snow at the main kamakura event site. The fire in the front was a welcome site as my fingers had started to freeze over.

Tonari no Totoro looked quite realistic here. The Ghibli creation fitted in well with the snow.

Tonari no Totoro looked quite realistic here. The Ghibli creation fitted in well with the snow.

Japanese and Foreigners alike, all keen to get a photo of the inside of the kamakura.

Japanese and Foreigners alike, all keen to get a photo of the inside of the kamakura.

Some of the kids took turns sliding down the large Mameshiba snow statute.

Some of the kids took turns sliding down the large Mameshiba snow statute.

Lots of shapes and combinations for stacking the snow.

Lots of shapes and combinations for stacking the snow.

A whole walled fort has been created here with the individual huts. It made for a nice effect with all the candles lit.

A whole walled fort has been created here with the individual huts. It made for a nice effect with all the candles lit.

Inside the kamakura, children served up hot food and amazake.

Inside the kamakura, children served up hot food and amazake.

Looking back inside the wall of candles.

Looking back inside the wall of candles.

The streets were not too crowded which made it easy to get around. With the weather being quite mild as well, walking through the snow was not a problem.

The streets were not too crowded which made it easy to get around. With the weather being quite mild as well, walking through the snow was not a problem.

Lots of effort had gone in to making all of these small kamakura along the roadway.

Lots of effort had gone in to making all of these small kamakura along the roadway.

A popular spot here for people to stop and get some amazake or noodles.

A popular spot here for people to stop and get some amazake or noodles.

Outside a house on the main street.

Outside a house on the main street.

Enough people out to make in friendly, not so many that it was uncomfortable. Without the Festival, on a really cold snowy night, I imagine there would hardly be anyone out on the streets.

Enough people out to make in friendly, not so many that it was uncomfortable. Without the Festival, on a really cold snowy night, I imagine there would hardly be anyone out on the streets.

Traditional snow boots and a mini bonden alongside a small kamakura for this house.

Traditional snow boots and a mini bonden alongside a small kamakura for this house.

Plenty of choice for kids to buy a mask here.

Plenty of choice for kids to buy a mask here.

The colors really shone through from these stalls. With it being cold out and the food looking great, everyone was tucking in.

The colors really shone through from these stalls. With it being cold out and the food looking great, everyone was tucking in.

The main crowds seemed to have gathered around the outdoor food stalls. Hot dogs, yakisoba, Okonomiyaki, Monja and many other types of food were available.

The main crowds seemed to have gathered around the outdoor food stalls. Hot dogs, yakisoba, Okonomiyaki, Monja and many other types of food were available.

The Okonomiyaki chefs cook up a large hot plate full of food.

The Okonomiyaki chefs cook up a large hot plate full of food.

French Dogs on offer here.

French Dogs on offer here.

Ika, squid, being cooked up. Always nice to down this with a dose of Japanese Sake as well.

Ika, squid, being cooked up. Always nice to down this with a dose of Japanese Sake as well.

This is how you make Okonomiyaki. I am not sure how many servings I can count here, but they were disappearing fast as customers lined up.

This is how you make Okonomiyaki. I am not sure how many servings I can count here, but they were disappearing fast as customers lined up.

A couple of chocolate dogs to the left here with other stalls in the background.

A couple of chocolate dogs to the left here with other stalls in the background.

A mini kamakura and shrine. Looks like it wont be long before the shrine melts.

A mini kamakura and shrine. Looks like it wont be long before the shrine melts.

JR Yokote Station, Akita-ken

JR Yokote Station, Akita-ken

Have you visited Japan in the Winter snow time? Where did you go?

Tapiokaa says:

OOOooo… lovely ^^

DJTK says:

That just brought back tons of memories for me of living in Japan. Excellent photos. I didn’t have a digital camera when I lived there.. I really wish I had! At least I have 35mm memories!

shibuya246 says:

Thanks. There are many places I have also been in Japan years ago where I didn’t take a camera. I wish I could recapture those visits on digital film also :)

HELLOSHEENA says:

I love the snow and the Hello Kitty shot!!

Brother Baye says:

Awesome pics as usual…I especially like the lit displays!

tokyokid121 says:

wow I just love this! it’s so awesome looking! great photo keep up the great work! :D

whipcracker says:

RT @tweetmeme Kamakura Snow Festival, Yokote, Japan Photo-Post http://bit.ly/9QYMA8 Festivals at any given time of the year. Pretty soon it will be time for all the springtime festivals. These smaller area ones are like home town gatherings. More quaint. Great photos as usual. :)

whipcracker says:

Never heaed of chocolate dogs before. Is it a regional delicasey?

whipcracker says:

Don’t think I’d care for squid.
by: whipcracker

whipcracker says:

Back home here we call the corn dogs. Do the hot dogs come from France?
by: whipcracker

Kesenaitsumi says:

Wow… Really had great view there.. Wish I can visit there someday too.
All the candles+snow is very beautiful.

xiaorongda says:

Great angle!

xiaorongda says:

Absolutely beautiful!

Neksus says:

This is a good reportage.
So funny to enjoy.

Honestly, you were in line for an okonomiyaki, didn’t you??

shibuya246 says:

I really like okonomiyaki :) :) After I took the photo of the okonomiyaki guy, I showed it to him. He was really happy!

achiisan says:

Just noticed that wile it’s freezing cold in Japan, here in the Philippines is so much hot which tend our dam reservoirs to run dry, and give you a heat stroke :D

 

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